Ashamed Of My Diabetes
"I am ashamed of my diabetes."
This phrase has been heard many times at diabetic workshops, self-help groups, and more. The societal stigma, popular assumptions, and general lack of education in the press cause many diabetics to be ashamed of their condition and the side effects and changes it often brings.
Sometimes, this embarrassment is exacerbated by a lack of support from friends and family. Often, support has to come from somewhere else or it won't come at all.
Assumption vs. Truth
The public seems to believe that diabetes is a disease that comes only after a life of excess and because the person was too weak to lead a semi-healthy lifestyle. To the general public, diabetes is often seen as a disease for the weak. This can affect your home, work and social life, and the dietary changes and requirements make it obvious to everyone and difficult to hide. Fluctuating weight gains and losses don't help.
The truth is, though, there is no reason to be embarrassed. Diabetes is not a disease that only affects those who are weak. Often, it's genetic and while some of the modern lifestyle choices we've made (low exercise, high-carb foods, etc) can make it worse, in the end it's something that happens to us like any other disease.
In fact, much of the stigma is due to the fears others have. When diabetics are seen eating healthy, losing weight, and generally having a healthy lifestyle in order to deal with their disease, people around them worry that they aren't healthy enough and that perhaps they too will be diagnosed someday. This fear often translates to mean jokes and mistreatment.
Help Others Understand by Talking About It
Only by educating people can they learn what diabetes really is. Talk to your family first. Be sure they know what it is you're dealing with. Talk to your good friends the same way. Explain what it means and why you don't want to feel embarrassed anymore. Make it an everyday thing that just isn't a big deal, and those who love you will understand.
In short, don't try to hide it. Diabetes is common enough that it should not be difficult for people to talk about it and fully understand it. So do so.